Dear Wayne and Wanda,
For years, "Holly" has been my best friend. We grew up together and managed to stay in close touch while we both went away to college. We both came back to Alaska and resurrected our close ties. There were some fun years there when we were both single (mostly) and dating. Life was like our own little "Sex and the City" episode. We had so much fun and were always there to support each other, vent when we were stressed, lean on each other when we needed a good cry, and laugh off life's curveballs.
We both had relationships here and there but nothing too lengthy or serious until Holly met "Chad." Chad is a serious guy — good job, slightly older, very focused. It's like Holly absorbed this as she hung out with him. She hung out with me less and less and was with Chad more and more. I wasn't surprised when they got engaged and was genuinely happy for her when they got married and really happy for her when she got pregnant with her first kid — this all happened over a period of a few years.
Now Holly is a mom and a wife, and I literally never see her. The only way to hang out with her is to go to her place, and it's kind of BS, really. She only half pays attention to any conversation, with half her brain devoted to the kid at all times. She can never meet me anywhere. We recently planned weeks in advance to get pedicures and she bailed the day before because Chad couldn't watch the baby. WTH?? I've invited her to come over with the baby for dinner or brunch but she says it's too hard.
I miss my bestie and I don't see how we can possibly stay friends if the only time we interact is when I come to her and she's massively distracted. It kills me that none of this seems to bother her like it does me. What can I do?
People's circumstances and priorities change and friendships change as a result, and it's one of the saddest algebraic equations life throws in our path. Your confusion and frustration is palpable: you're feeling your best bud slip away and your life is starting to somewhat resemble those super-depressing episodes of "Sex and the City" instead of the exciting ones.
Do you remember that one episode of "SATC" when the girls are stunned to learn perennial party girl Laney is now pregnant and living in the suburbs? The ladies at first feel a bit stunted and left behind, pondering whether they've too long lingered in their youth. Later, they're mildly horrified when Laney has something of a break at a party and tries to flash everyone, mimicking her long-gone days as the hot It Girl.
The lesson there? We all miss our pasts, in turn. We miss our friends, we miss simpler times, we miss old versions of ourselves. And while you're missing your friendship with Holly, I'm guessing she is too — and she's probably also missing the days when she could get a spontaneous pedi, or sleep through the night, or knock back a few cosmos without consequence.
Your friendship with Holly is strong, I have no doubt. This rough patch is a growing pain that could erode that friendship if you're inflexible — but it could strengthen it if you step up. It can be frustrating to feel like the one always making the effort. But face it: you're the one with the more open calendar. So keep going to her, and be there for her, as she would hopefully do for you.
So, what are you in this friendship for? A mani/pedi pal? A brunch buddy? Someone to stand in line in the snow with you and smuggle in Sofia cans for the midnight opening of "Sex and the City 3: Men & Menopause"?
Or is Holly your best friend? Someone you've been to hell and back with? Someone who, I bet, asked you to stand up with her when she married Chad? Someone who also, I double-down, asked you to be among the first to meet her baby? Someone who still tries to squeeze you into her insanely hectic life despite the fact that when you guys hook up you're sour and wanting more when there literally isn't any left?
I know you think that you're trying super-hard to keep this friendship alive, but you're just being selfish and shortsighted. And you're definitely not acknowledging that Holly is trying hard, too. She just has a few extra demands on her plate these days. You know what's really B.S.? You not understanding that.
I bet she would KILL for a day of mimosas, nail polish and foot massages, and endless laughs with you. Or even an afternoon of bad movies and bad carbs on her couch with you. And one day, you'll get them again. But they aren't going to be every weekend, like in the past. And they aren't coming while she and Chad are still adjusting to being first-time parents.
I know it's tough when friendship dynamics change, but this shift didn't happen overnight. It's been years. And I'm guessing you didn't notice that Holly isn't the only person in your age bracket who's doing a similar version of settling down these days.
Want instant friendification? Squeeze your way into the young professional posse at the office and hang with them for spontaneous drinks and dates. You want a ride-or-die, bestie for life? Be more supportive and appreciative of Holly.
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